Patriarchs urge Mideast faithful to keep hope

Patriarchs urge Mideast faithful to keep hope Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai

Amid Lebanon’s political and economic strife and uncertainty in the Middle East, Catholic patriarchs urged their faithful to forge ahead in hope at Christmastime.

At least two patriarchs expressed concern about Lebanon’s failure to form a new government since parliamentary elections in May.

In his Christmas message, Lebanese Cardinal Bechara Rai, patriarch of Maronite Catholics, denounced the stalling and procrastination as a “crime”.

Politicians “do not care about the enormous financial losses suffered by the state and the Lebanese people”, he said in his message from Bkerke, the Maronite Patriarchate north of Beirut.


“This is what provoked the wrath of the people,” the patriarch stressed, referring to the demonstrations that took place on December 23 in Beirut and other parts of the country.

In his Christmas message, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan was equally urgent in his tone regarding issues surrounding Lebanon’s governmental paralysis.

“Instead of a joyous atmosphere, Christmas this year comes rather in a very sad state of mind,” he said.